A Decree of Divorce dissolves a marriage and allows both parties to remarry. Before a Court can grant a divorce in Ireland, the following conditions must be met:
- The parties must have living apart for a period amounting to four out of the previous five years before the application is made.
- There must be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
- Proper arrangements must have been made or will be made for either spouse and any dependent members of the family such as the children of either party and other relatives.
If these conditions are met, either party to a marriage may apply to Court for a Decree of Divorce. If it is satisfied that the grounds are met, the Court will grant the Decree of Divorce dissolving the marriage. When it grants the Decree of Divorce, the Court may also make orders in relation to custody of children and access to them, the payment of maintenance and lump sums, the transfer of property, the extinguishment of succession rights, pension rights etc.
The fact that the parties must have been living separate lives for four out of the five years before an application for a divorce is made means that many separating couples obtain a Separation Agreement or a Judicial Separation to regulate matters between them before they seek a divorce.
In any application for a Decree of Divorce, the Court can review any previous arrangements made by the parties such as a Separation Agreement, particularly if the circumstances of either party has changed. This does not mean that you must first apply for a Court Ordered Judicial Separation or complete a separation agreement. Once parties to a marriage have lived separate and apart for the required time, they can apply immediately for a divorce.
When a Decree of Divorce is granted, it cannot be reversed. The law allows either party to apply to the Court for a review of matters such as maintenance or access after the Decree has been granted. Where a Divorce is ultimately completed by agreement between the spouses, equally the divorce can be concluded as a full and final settlement of all issues between the spouses. If you were married in another country you may still apply for divorce in Ireland, if you are resident here.
As with separation, we act and advise extensively in the negotiation of terms of divorce and the rights and entitlements of either spouse. We can negotiate the best terms for your divorce by agreement. If we feel the best terms are not available to you in the division of assets on divorce, we have the experience and resources to maximise your entitlements through the Court process.